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Warrington Wolves strength and conditioning coach Chris Baron will step down from his position at the club at the end of the current season.
Baron, who is in his fifth season at the Wolves, has chosen to take time away from the sport for a year and fulfil a lifelong dream of travelling the globe with visits to India, Thailand, Japan and Australia on his itinerary.
Baron said: “It’s the right time. It’s something I wanted to do before I took the internship on at Leicester but circumstances required me to start there straight away. That was eight years ago now and I’ve just turned 30 this year; I’ve got to go sooner rather than later or it might be never.
“I’ll always have an affinity with the club. Having worked at Warrington for five years it’s somewhere that will always be close to me. I’ve enjoyed my time here. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster…We’ve gone through a bit of a change which has been tough at times but we’ve progressed and hopefully the next generation of players will also reap the benefits.
“Coming across people like Hilly (Chris Hill) and Engy (Anthony England), who have stepped up from the lower grades, and the young lads coming through hopefully I have had a positive impact on their development. I’d like to think I may have helped some of the older boys, like Moz (Adrian Morley), Micky (Higham) and Monas (Michael Monaghan) to prolong their careers.”
Head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith added: “Chris has provided five years of fantastic service to the club and has played an integral part in the development of Warrington Wolves. Not only has he provided a high level of professionalism in preparing the players for the demands of Super League but he's also been a real character and popular member of the dressing room.
”Chris will go with our best wishes at the end of the season but until then he'll be doing his utmost to make sure he departs on the perfect note.”
Baron admits to having never had a holiday throughout his time at the club as even in the offseason he worked for England on the international scene before preparing for the new season with Warrington.
“That’s probably a testament to the job. It’s not actually a job to me. I enjoy doing it; it’s a lifestyle. A lot of people wouldn’t understand that in their jobs but I’m fortunate enough to have done something I enjoy and that I don’t see it as a job. It’s a good atmosphere here and Tony has created a really good environment and surrounded it with good people.
“The camaraderie is what I’ll miss. It’s fun, enjoyable and a great environment to work in. My favourite moment would have to be Wembley 2010 and getting to Grand Finals even though we pulled up short at Old Trafford. All-in-all though the day-to-day things like having fun with the boys and the emotions you go through with the team are probably just as good as those one-off days.”
Baron is due to leave in December after the end of season internationals, looking beyond his travels he adds: “In a perfect world there’ll be a job in the same field but that’s not always the case, I might have to get my hands dirty again, but the plan is to get back into conditioning as the reason for the travelling is to simply do something that’s been a lifelong dream. However, the fact that I’m leaving has added extra motivation for me personally; as always I will be doing all I can to make this the most successful Super League season in the club’s history.”